Some athletes listen to a certain song, some throw a ball with a specific teammate every time, while others — like Austin Minton — have a very different pre-game ritual. Before every game, Minton is on the couch in the locker room with his headphones in his ears putting a pile of shuffled cards numbered one to 99 back into numerical order. As one of the Red Hawks’ best relief pitchers last season, Minton, a sophomore and undeclared major, will be making the transition to starter for the 2016 season.
There’s no hiding Minton’s passion for the game of baseball. Minton began playing when he was just 4 years old. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever really loved,“ he said. “It’s my favorite part of the day. It’s why I get up in the morning.”
Minton learned how to pitch when he was 7 under the guidance of his best friend’s father. However, he did not fall in love with pitching until he was around 17, considering himself “lucky” that he didn’t fall to injury like so many other players who are brought up playing the position their entire career.
Minton feels very confident in his ability to make the transition from reliever to starter for the Montclair State team, explaining that he was a starter when his pitching career began in high school. His plan for this season is to just take each day as it comes, explaining that he had a decent season last year, but he could have always done things better.
This humble attitude is something that Minton has carried throughout his entire life. “Work hard in silence, and let success make the noise,” he said, quoting the popular mantra his father had always told him growing up.
From a team standpoint, Minton explained that they just want to take it one day at a time. From a more personal standpoint, however, Minton said with a laugh, “I want to win more games than I lose.”
Minton has high hopes for this upcoming season. In his eyes, the success of the team as a whole is dependent on the team’s ability to work together. However, with a group of guys that has already become so close before the season has even begun, he sees no problems in their future.
As for his future, he has the same dreams as every kid in every sandlot across the country. ”I just keep falling more and more in love with the game,” he said. ” I just want to go where my success takes me.”